We’ve spent some time talking about the importance of shopping around during Part D open enrollment, which is currently underway until December 7th, 2015. Existing Part D plan coverage and individual health needs change from year to year so now is the time to review options and find the plan that works best for you.
Today, I want to share a personal story to demonstrate how important it is to shop around for a Part D plan. My uncle has congestive heart failure (CHF) and became eligible for Medicare a few years ago. Every year during open enrollment, he sends me his current list of drugs and I use the Medicare Plan Finder website to review his plan options and find the plan that will meet both his health and financial needs for the next year.
Heading into 2016, my uncle’s current plan is increasing the monthly premium by about $10, adding a deductible and increasing cost-sharing for his medicines. Using the Medicare Plan Finder, I entered his drug list and compared his current plan with several other plan options in the area. In less than 10 minutes of searching, I identified another plan that will actually decrease his monthly premium by about $10 and compared to his current plan, will save nearly $500 in total costs next year (both premiums and out-of-pocket costs). Additionally, this new plan option has no utilization management restrictions on the medicines he currently needs, and he can access preferred cost-sharing at his local pharmacy.
This is just one example of how spending a few minutes comparison shopping among Part D plans can pay off enormously. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, take a few minutes while the pies are baking to check out your plan or help a loved one check their coverage. Let us know how it goes in the comments below and stay tuned for more on #MedicareMonday.
Ashley Flint Ashley is a former Senior Director in the Policy and Research Department at PhRMA where she led day-to-day policy analysis related to the Medicare Part D program. Prior to PhRMA, Ashley worked as an Associate at HCM Strategists, a health and education consulting firm. Ashley holds a Masters in public policy from George Washington University, with a concentration in health policy, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and psychology from Emory University.